Still far off, Michael a growing menace to Florida Panhandle

Courtesy MGN

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for western Cuba.

A state of emergency was issued in Alabama on Monday as "dangerous" Hurricane Michael continues to barrel toward the US, with the potential to hit the Florida Panhandle mid-week. Tropical storm to hurricane force winds are less than four days away from the United States.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 storm system and is tracking toward the northwestern coast of Florida, according to an 11 a.m. update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) on October 8.

The Gulf Coast is forecast to see tropical storm conditions Tuesday night or early Wednesday, ahead of the hurricane activity expected for Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, it looks like it's coming directly at us and all you can do is prepare", he said. It is becoming more likely, but still not certain, at this point that some of our southern counties could see hurricane force wind gusts (74mph+) In addition to the wind, Michael could be a decent rain maker, with several inches of rain possible.

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Michael was expected to become a major Category 3 storm by Tuesday with winds over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), making it the most powerful storm to hit the Panhandle of Florida in over 15 years.

Further strengthening is forecast as it moves northward across the Gulf of Mexico. He also waived tolls in a move to help coastal dwellers leave. A storm surge watch is in place from Pensacola to Anna Maria Island, meaning storm surge could be between 2 and 4 feet in the Tampa Bay area.

The U.S. military was moving its aircraft from the Panhandle on Monday.

The NHC warns: "This is a life-threatening situation". Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

Pfaff said the storm is still worth noting, as it will bring high winds and heavy rains to an area still recovering from the last storm.

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This would make the storm a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of between 111 and 129 miles per hour.

The storm was centered about 30 miles (80 kilometers) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles (835 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida. Even if it is a category 2 or a category 1, millions of people will deal with it.

"Areas hit hard by Florence may face disruptions to ongoing cleanup efforts or renewed flooding depending on the track of the storm", an update from AccuWeather warned. "The track guidance is in good agreement on the track of Sergio, although there is still some uncertainty associated with the timing for when Sergio will reach the west coast of the Baja California peninsula", it added.

A separate storm system is forecast to drench the central U.S.in heavy rain on Monday.

An Inland Hurricane Watch has been issued for Baker, Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Holmes, Miller, Mitchell, Thomas, Worth counties in Georgia.

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